CHIANG RAI – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting international and local tourists to visit the special “Candle Light Museum” at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park in Chiang Rai.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of TAT said, “The Candle Light Museum at the Mae Fah Laung Art and Cultural Park is the first of its kind in Thailand and is unlike anywhere else. Visitors to Chiang Rai should not miss this magnificent exhibition, where the exquisite hundred-year-old wooden crafts are being beautifully decorated with candle light.”
The Candle Light Museum is the first-ever exhibition of its kind as candles are lit to spectacularly illuminate the exquisite wooden Lanna-style candlesticks and artefacts aged over several hundred years.
Mae Fah Luang Garden
The Museum, which is set to exhibit until 31 January, 2014, is open daily (except Monday) from 10:00 – 22:00 hrs. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays will be more special as visitors will be served with complimentary welcome drinks and will have the chance to enjoy Lanna traditional performances, which are organised twice a day at 19:30 and 20:30 hrs.
Beyond 31 January, 2014, when the Candle Light Museum concludes, international and local visitors can still marvel at the many interesting attractions offered at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, established in 1977 as a part of the Doi Tung Development Project, initiated by the late Princess Mother.
Initially, the Project was aimed to be a training camp for 450 hill tribe youths appointed to lead their communities for the sufficiency economy and sustainable living. After the basic education developed to reach those hill tribe children in remote areas, the training camp was later turned into an art and culture park to house the collections of Lanna wooden art and crafts. It is now considered as one of Thailand’s largest collections of ancient artefacts of Lanna cultures.
There are three main buildings within the 150-rai art and cultural park: Haw Kham (Golden Pavilion) – a northern Thai term for royal residence which was donated as a gift from the people of Chiang Rai as a residence for HRH the Princess Mother, patron of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, in appreciation for her regular presence and concern for the people of Chiang Rai. Today, it is used to house and display the largest collection of ancient Lanna art and teak artefacts; Haw Kham Noi has 19th century ancient mural paintings and Haw Kaew and Sala Kaew features permanent and rotating teak wood exhibitions.
Aside from the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, tourists can also visit various other interesting attractions under the Doi Tung Development Project nearby including:
Doi Tung Royal Villa (entry fee 90 Baht): The Royal Villa at Doi Tung was built in 1990 to celebrate the 90th birthday of the late Princess Mother who arduously worked on her royal project here to improve the quality of life of the hill tribe people. The two-storey wooden building was designed with a combination of northern Thai and Swiss chalet style of architecture. The interior is decorated with wood slabs cut from golden teak wood. The simplicity and functionality truly reflect the personality of the Princess Mother. The highlight of the Royal Villa is on the ceiling of the main hall. It has hand-crafted wood inlay of the Princess Mother’s favourite constellations.
Mae Fah Luang Garden (entry fee 90 Baht): the must-see attraction of the Doi Tung Development Project features a beautiful garden of cold-climate flowers and indigenous floras of Doi Tung. It is located on over 40 sq. km. of land that once was the Akha village of Pa Kluay that used to be an important route for opium caravans and those involved in heroin-related trafficking and weapons. But since the Doi Tung Development Project came into existence, villagers have been encouraged to stop the opium trade and involved in the development project. Today, the decorative flowers in the Mae Fah Luang Garden are grown and nurtured by local villagers and the Garden can bring substantial income to the area, thus develop the quality of life of the local villagers.
The garden of Mae Fah Luang features more than 70 indigenous flora and wild plants found in the Doi Tung area. It also includes the famous sculpture “Continuity” by the late artist Misiem Yip-In-Soi in the middle of the garden. There are also a fountain, a rock garden, a section of ornamental flowers, and a palm garden. The garden has different kinds of flowers in full bloom all year round.
Hall of Inspiration (entry fee 50 Baht): The exhibition here covers the story of the Mahidol Family, from His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol, Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra the Princess Mother, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, His Majesty King Ananda Mahidol and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The new exhibition shows the character, philosophies and working principles of the Family, and their diligence to find ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of the Thai people in all corners of the Kingdom through simple but effective works. It also shows how the members of the Family inspired each other, and how their examples can inspire so many others.
It is hoped that those who visit the “Hall of Inspiration” will better understand the role of the Mahidol Family in the country, and from the example of this family will themselves become inspired to do good works for the benefit of society.
For visitors wishing to visit all the three attractions, a combined ticket of three places is available at 190 Baht (from 230 Baht).
Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand, 785 km from Bangkok. Thai Airways International, Orient Thai Airlines, Nok Air and Air Asia operate daily flights between Bangkok and Chiang Rai. The flight takes about 1.15 hrs. There are also air-conditioned and non-aircon bus services from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road. The journey takes about 11 hrs.